The European Championships are almost upon us and the anticipation for the huge Wembley clash between England and Scotland is palpable, as the oldest rivalry in international football makes a welcome return this June.
The sides have not faced each other since a pulsating 2-2 draw at Hampden Park in 2017, a match which saw three goals in the final six minutes, including two memorable free kicks from Celtic forward Leigh Griffiths – goals which etched the striker into Scottish footballing folklore.
8 the 114 matches played between the sides, Scotland have picked up 41 wins to England’s 48 and, with Steve Clarke’s side looking to add to that tally this summer, we look over 10 of Scotland’s most famous battles with their near neighbours.
1928 – England 1-5 Scotland
Just under 100 years ago, Scotland smashed England on their home turf. Scotland’s ‘Wembley Wizards’, as they became known, destroyed England on their own patch thanks to the dynamic duo of Alex Jackson and Alex James, the former with a memorable hat-trick.
Many within the 80,868 capacity crowd commented that the scoreline could have been far worse for the home side as Scotland well and truly took the bragging rights back over the border during the 1928 British Home Championships victory.
1999 – England 0-1 Scotland
Dubbed as the ‘battle of Britain’ Craig Brown’s Scotland side had performed poorly in the Euro 2000 qualifying play-off first-leg and travelled to Wembley already 2-0 down on aggregate after Paul Scholes brace had put them to the sword at Hampden Park days before hand.
With England boasting a ‘golden generation’, Brown’s side were barely given a chance as they headed to the ‘old’ Wembley, attempting to overturn a two goal deficit. However, led by a magnificent Don Hutchinson, Scotland pulled off a famous victory that almost took the national team to the European Championships and shocked their talent-laden, much fancied hosts. The game would be the final tie between the sides to be played under Wembley’s famous twin towers.
1878 – Scotland 7-2 England
A thumping 7-2 win at first Hampden was one of many thrashings Scotland gave to England in the 1880s.
With a reported 15,000 fans in attendance, Scotland raced into a 4-0 half-time lead, as a John McDougall inspired side wiped the floor with the the away side who had arrived in Glasgow as footballing equals, but left as heavy losers.
2017 – Scotland 2-2 England
The first of the games on this list that didn’t end in a Scotland win, but it’s hard to remember a more glorious three minutes in Scotland’s recent history than Leigh Griffith’s sweetly struck free-kicks at the end of this World Cup qualifier.
The loudest roar heard at Hampden in many a moon, Gordon Strachan’s side came within a whisker of a famous victory only to be denied at the very death. Often looked back on as a ‘what might have been’, it can’t be seen as anything other than an absolute classic that will likely live long in the memory of both sets of fans.
1882 – Scotland 5-1 England
Immortalised in mural form at the sight of first Hampden, located in the southside of Glasgow, this game saw Scotland hand out another demolition to their nearest rivals.
Captained by Scotland’s first black footballer, Andrew Watson, a team made up of players solely from the country’s then top amateur side Queens Park put in a dominant second half performance to see off the visitors with goals from Robert McPherson, John Kay and Geordie Ker.
1967 – England 2-3 Scotland
World champions England had gone 19 games undefeated going into this European Championship qualifier, only to meet a supremely talented ‘Slim’ Jim Baxter on April 15.
The Scottish side featured four of Celtic’s European Cup winning Lisbon Lions and alongside Denis Law, but it was former Sunderland and Rangers man Baxter who would steal the show, as he famous played keepie-uppie at walking pace deep inside the England half.
Crowned the ‘unofficial world champions’, Scotland could have, and perhaps should have, scored more on a day that shocked a previously dominant England to their core.
1977 – England 1-2 Scotland
One of the most memorable encounters in history, a dominant Scotland display is perhaps best remembered for the chaos at the final whistle, which resulted in goalposts being torn down and the turf being dug up by the away fans.
A ten year wait for a Scotland win over England came via strikes from Gordon McQueen and Kenny Dalglish as the Tartan Army finished top of the British Home Championships and began, what they had hoped, would be a bright era under newly appointed boss Ally MacLeod. Sadly for MacLeod, the World Cup in Argentina would be the beginning of the end after little over a year in charge, as Johnny Rep’s 72nd minute strike for the Dutch would result in Scotland going home on goal difference.
1985 – Scotland 1-0 England
After the demise of the British Home Championship, the Rous Cup was initially established to continue the traditional annual game between the two sides.
Playing in the pouring Glasgow rain, both sides battle out a hard fought game that had little in quality, but plenty to admire in guts. The match would be won via the head of Dundee United’s Richard Gough who connected with Jim Bett’s left wing cross in the 68th minute to loop a header beyond Peter Shilton in the Three Lions goal.